And we're back for yet another edition of our TDN Roundtable! Here's where we tackle some interesting topics for discussion throughout the dirt racing world, and roast drivers!
Participating in this discussion are our very own Professor, Mr Tyler Beichner, Brian "Dobie" Compton, Mr. Bacon Bits himself, Josh Bayko, the brothers Steele (Trever and Jerin) , and Pat "Magic Fingers" Miller. And spewing out the questions it's the Skizoid Gary Heeman.
The World of Outlaw Sprints are off and running on the "Hotel California" tour and right out of the gate Shane Stewart has everyone's attention with his consistent start. First question, is anyone surprised, and secondly, is a top 5 finish at the end of the season feasible for him?
I’m not surprised at all. Even with the partial schedule they ran last year, they seemed to be in contention most nights. They’ve put together a solid team and see no reason why they shouldn’t be a top 5 team for the season.-Pat Miller
I'm sticking to my guns on my WoO Sprint Preview, so yes, I am quite surprised. I wasn't doubting that they could run up front and contend, but the consistency is astounding. Posting a 6.5 average finish is very impressive. What also sticks out to me is that, at the very worst, he picks up a position or two each night. Never backwards. Let's hope Stewart and team keep it up to give Schatz and company a run to the end. - Tyler Beichner
|From All Star Sprint.com|
Who's the best sprint driver out there not in a World of Outlaw ride in 2015? Is it an All Star, a Central PA guy, an Iowa guy, or maybe even Aaron Reutzel?
I'd say it is Dale Blaney. The experience he has puts him over the top of other guys. Brian Brown is another guy in the conversation, but I still give Blaney the edge. - Jerin Steele
Just basing this off the start of the season, I’d say Terry McCarl. He won in Vegas, has 5 other top 10’s with the Outlaws, and has done it in two different cars. If he had the funding to go back out on the road for the entire season, he’d be a top 10 driver.-Pat Miller
I agree with Jerin, I think Dale Blaney is based off of how he ran last year. McCarl has been impressive (maybe next in line behind Blaney), but Blaney went about a month and a half since last racing. Once he gets back into the routine of things we'll be seeing him back in victory lane on a regular basis. - Tyler Beichner
Throwing my two cents in Rico Abreu's general direction. Sucks we're kind of losing him to the pavement scene. - Gary Heeman
|Zack Yost Photo|
Shane Clanton's February was nothing short of insane in terms of performance. He's currently got a 90 point lead and the greatest deficit overcome to win a title is currently less than that. Was this a case of having a head start on the fields, or do Lanigan and Richards have to start being concerned?
I don't think the lead is so big that Lanigan and/or Richards can reel him back in. Lanigan is very good, and ripping off 5 or 6 wins in a row is something I could absolutely see him doing. Richards is still knocking some rust off every time he runs, but the results are already pretty good. Once he gets his groove back all the way, he's going to be contending for wins night in and night out. I see T-Mac's results picking up very soon as well. He's been running a whole bunch lately and having all that seat time is going to be an asset as the season wears on. - Josh Bayko
I see Lanigan and Richards reeling Clanton back in once they hit the road and all the different surfaces and track styles they race on. Shane will still have some things to figure out with the new chassis designs and the other fellas will have the hammerdown to catch him. I always think its best to be in 2nd and going hard instead of leading and holding on. Its a very very long season, and might be one of the best if a few new names are challenging for the title. - Brian -Dobie- Compton
Clanton's start certaintly made a statement for the title contention. I do believe that we will actually see a decent battle between Clanton, Richards and Lanigan this year. A more competitive season on the tour will be much welcome, seeing as Langian was miles ahead of everyone last year. I still expect both Lanigan and Richards to step up their game and be the top winners on the tour, and ultimately 1-2 in the final points. - Trever Steele
|Todd Healy Photo|
A couple of years back, Jonathan Davenport made an attempt at a Lucas Oil Series run that was less than impressive. And although he didn't initially plan on following a tour in 2015, his start this season has changed his plans for the time being. Will that experience from before and crew chief Kevin Rumley's input help him maintain a top three run this season?
Top 3 in the Lucas series is a tall order. I am biased as a Davenport fan so I hope it is possible. He had a great ride with Bowyer the first time he tried, but the new program and his experience on new track showed. Rumley will add a huge boost to his chances this time around and the Longhorn cars are bad fast no matter who has been driving. There is something to that, and hopefully Superman's hammerdown style will work to his benefit in qualifying and heat races to set him up well come feature time. - Brian -Dobie- Compton
I don't think that Davenport runs the whole deal. I think he ends up having a couple "bad" nights on tour in a row that he'll drop off and go to more of the type of schedule he has been running the since he ran for Baird, meaning just about all of the 20K+ shows across the nation. And he'll make his presence known at all of those shows for sure.
It's going to be extremely difficult to maintain a top three points finish in the Lucas series and that's even if Davenport stays on the tour to begin with. But I do think Davenport can show up and win just about any race in the country that pays 20k+. - Trever Steele
Scott Bloomquist's photo isn't headed for the back of a milk crate just yet. He won a gator earlier this year. And to be honest, it would take an oversize carton of milk if that time comes. But he's not been off to the start most had envisioned. Have people caught up to him? Have the shock rule adjustments leveled his advantage? Or was it just a rough patch at the start of the season and no need to worry?
If you ask Scott at years end he will say that he was testing and trying something new. The thing is, we may never know, and that is what makes the Bloomquist image great, the mystery. I think rumblings of the Penske "F1" shocks being ruled out may have slowed his advantage on the other guys. Once the first crown jewel race is over, I think Scott will be back in the top 3 as always. - Brian -Dobie- Compton
Scott's results always dip when he tries marketing his chassis to the masses. I know, I know, right now Sweet/Bloomquist is really just Scott, Chris Madden and Jared Landers, but the time Scott spends helping out the other two cut into his own preparation time. I mean, look what happened when the last time with Team Zero. Scott is always so much better than everybody else not because of exotic shocks, or bodies that push the very limits of the rules, or crazy experimental motors or any of that other ridiculous shit I've heard when his results dip, he's better because he spends way, way more time fine tuning and preparing his own stuff than everybody else. What he really needs to do is lay off building cars for anybody else until he cuts way, way back on his racing schedule or retires. - Josh Bayko
I predict Bloomer to be back in victory lane in the next couple of race weekends. The racetracks so far haven't exactly matched his driving style, and they've also presented some very "challenging" track conditions. Once they get into the heart of the season with some of the crown jewels (The Dream, Show-Me) I think Scott will return to form. - Tyler Beichner
It's only April, Bloomer will be back to winning on the Lucas tour in the months to come.. no need to worry at all. - Trever Steele
It looks as if we may have seen the last Super Dirt Week as we knew it in 2015 as the track at the Syracuse fairgrounds looks to have come to the end of the road. (Damn politicians). There's no replacing the moody mile, but what solution that you can come up with, would best keep the event at a reasonable closeness to the real thing? Is it more important to find a similar track, or a facility that the fans can all celebrate the week together at?
I never made it to the moody mile, but from what I hear the races at neighboring "smaller" tracks during the week are just as anticipated and a better on track race for fans. Maybe they could keep a true "speedweeks" feel with 5-7 races at different tracks over that week in New York with a nice points payout. The body mods and costs associated wit running the mile race were getting crazy and limited the participants. But you can say that about every race and class these days. - Brian -Dobie- Compton
I've been to Syracuse a bunch (10 times for SDW, a couple Labor Day races, and once on Fourth of July) and I have to say there's nothing really like it. The place has a feeling that you can't really describe. I will be quite sad when it goes away, but unlike a lot of people, I don't think that it means the end of SDW. It'll change, for sure, but the once nice thing is that wherever it ends up won't require a special car with a giant hammer of a 950 hp motor that's absolutely useless everywhere else. The whole week may end up at a different track (unlikely), or it may morph into a speedweek of 100 lap races that pay 10k each, or something, but the second week of October will still be the biggest deal in northeastern modified racing. - Josh Bayko
It'll be impossible to replicate Syracuse, so why not move the Sunday race to a different track in Northeast New York every year? Have Canandaigua, Weedsport, Rolling Wheels, Fulton, Utica-Rome etc be the home of the largest paying race in a rotation. - Jerin Steele
I compare this to the late models losing Pennsboro. At the time, the Dirt Track World Championship was the pinnacle of late model racing. Just as the DTWC had to, Super DIRTweek will transform and evolve into a new and exciting event that will hopefully make up for the lost history with more fan-friendly on-track action. - Tyler Beichner
What local race in our area are you most looking forward to? Lou Blaney Memorial? Lucas at PPMS? Firecracker? BRP Mods at Tyler? Any others?
Opening night at Lernerville is a must for me every year. - Brian -Dobie- Compton
This year is like any other, and I am most looking forward to the Firecracker 100. It's just a really fun weekend punctuated with 60 of the very best late models on the nation. - Josh Bayko
I have a few that come to mind. First off, since the Outlaws are only coming to Lernerville only once this year the Silver Cup will be a must see event. I enjoyed the BOSS race at Mercer last year so I'm looking forward to an encore this year. It will also be cool to see Tri-City Speedway get back into action. - Jerin Steele
Can’t go wrong with the Don Martin Memorial at Lernerville. There’s always a buzz in the air when the Outlaws roll into town, it just seems more magnified on that Tuesday night. You get a good mix of PA Posse, and some Ohio travelers, it’s always an interesting show. Not to mention double features for big money, can’t wait. -Pat Miller
Well, any race with nice weather. From there, I will also go with the reopening of Tri City Raceway (especially seeing how it looked like it would never happen) and the BOSS races at Mercer and Lernerville. - Trever Steele.
Gonna have to go with the Blaney Memorial at Sharon. It's on a Saturday, it's ASCoC Sprints with lots of intriguing invaders plus $5,000 to win BRP Modifieds. What's not to like?
|Pat Miller Photo|
Give us one local/regional driver that's ready to turn heads and have a breakout 2015, any track/series, and any division.
Not a huge leap here but AJ Flick in the sprint cars at Lernerville. If Pat Hanley gets his crate late model car out this year i think he will get a win in his first year. A new driver to the RUSH crate tour i see doing well is Joe Sylvester. A former monster truck driver and off road truck racer, big Joe can wheel anything on dirt! - Brian -Dobie- Compton
I look for Mike Pegher to have a monster year and contend for the championship at Lenerville in the super. He's been very good so far, but the consistency hasn't quite been there. It will be this year. - Josh Bayko
I agree with Josh's pick of Pegher. I also think Sye Lynch will be someone to keep an eye on in the sprints. - Jerin Steele
I’m on the AJ Flick bandwagon. I’ve heard he has few more horses under the hood for this season. You pair that with the consistency he showed in his rookie year in a 410, I think he’ll get a few wins between Lernerville and Mercer.-Pat Miller
Okay, I'm going to go with Garrett Krummert to get his first Lernerville win this year. - Trever Steele
And lastly, the roast.. aka the verbal skewering of a beloved figure has been around for as long as sarcasm has been with us. Entertainer's get to be roasted and be a roaster once in a while. So in this edition of round table, we're going to give you a chance to set the frame work for the first ever DIRT Roast. What driver would you most like to roast? And submit one joke as for your roastee!
I'll go first here and select Mr. Paul McMahan, he's beloved, and has the personality to laugh along with it.
"But seriously folks, if you think Paul's fast on the track, try to beat him to the front of the line at the port a john, they don't call him "Paul's To the Stalls" for nothing. Hey Paul....it's not to early for Depends ya know!" - Gary Heeman
I'm showing my age here, but I'd have to go with C.D. Coville. He drove like a maniac and is one of the funniest people I've ever met.
"So C.D. drives a tour bus now for a living. I'd bet the old ladies hitting the casino soak their diapers every time the bus leans on a tractor trailer going into the turn" - Josh Bayko
I don't have a joke here, but could you imagine the awkwardness of a Sammy Swindell roast? It would probably end like it does on the track sometimes... in a fist fight. - Jerin Steele
And that'll do it for this version of Round Table. We hope you enjoyed reading it!